Reviews

Someone Else's Deja Vu

07/07/2008 | Stereosubversion.com | www.stereosubversion.com | Album Review
Son, Ambulance's third record is mostly a solo effort by Joseph Knapp with close collaboration with Jeffrey Koster a former member of the band. Many have heard Joseph Knapp on other artists albums such as Bright Eyes' Fevers and Mirrors, among others. It's worth a mention because there are countless similarities between Son, Ambulance's sound on this album and the myriad of folk stylings that Bright Eyes offers. While frequently delivering Simon and Garfunkel-esque vocals with a psychedelic instrumental twist, Son, Ambulance brings antiquated 60s and 70s sounds together with what's current in the underground folk scene.

The first track, "A Girl in New York City" is a folksy samba that seamlessly integrates, of all things, a whistle solo. "Legend of Lizeth" has the wailing, and echoing vocals that bear a striking resemblance to Conor Oberst. It breaks into a cascade of guitar feedback and "artsy" noise.

Contrary to what one might think "Quand Tu Marches Seul" is sung completely in English but has a very Latin influenced guitar and rhythm section.

"Wild Roses" has the flowing free verse like lyrics and soft female BGVs during the chorus that are also reminiscent of Bright Eyes. "Horizons" is a short number that have vocals with delay that remind one of The Shins, or The Flaming Lips.

"Yesterday Morning" is a college themed love song. It's a lamentation that includes frustration over speaking to advisors and still being unsure of what classes to take. Instrumentally it's one of the strongest on the album. It includes an oboe and an echoing guitar outro that are almost like the receding waves of the sea after a great storm of crescendos.

"Constellations" is Knapp with an acoustic guitar, channeling Oberst with vocals that aren't nearly as harsh. While many tracks on the album are easy and free flowing folk "Juliet's Son" is certainly a highlight. It rambles along with a rhythm that calls up images of a train making it's way steadily into the American west in the time of Mark Twain.

"The Renegade", which has themes that can be easily extrapolated from the title, and "Awakening" have a predictable folk progression that remains pleasant though the duration. The title track is an exceptional selection from the album. The percussion, like rolling thunder, imposes itself on the listener with grace and power. The last track, "Requiem for a Planet" containing just analog synths, vocals and piano is a solemn, ambient and unexpected ending to the album.

Son, Ambulance has a style that is very Saddle Creek, but with nuggets of eccentricity throughout. It's an altogether solid release that can be pleasantly seen again (forgive the pun).

Rating: 6/10
Someone Else's Deja Vu

Someone Else's Deja Vu

LP / CD / MP3




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